new york times

Cool Moose Bob Healey makes the NYT

December 4th, 2010 at 6:26 pm by under General Talk

Bob Healey

He may have come up short in his latest bid for the lieutenant governor’s office, but perennial abolition candidate Bob Healey Jr. extended his 15 minutes of fame today by making a cameo appearance in today’s New York Times.

Times reporter A.G. Sulzberger – a former Projo reporter himself, as well as the son of Times publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger – attended the annual meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association in Omaha, Neb., and found its members making the best of their odd job:

They have been disparaged as spare-tire politicians, kept in the dark and used only in emergencies. They have been dismissed as ribbon-cutting versions of the appendix, prominently situated but without any discernible function. And the office itself has been likened to a form of political purgatory, with occupants passing time hoping for some outside force to elevate them.

If the only safe jokes in politics are the ones at your own expense, lieutenant governors have been blessed with a wealth of comic material.

How does a lieutenant governor shake hands with the governor? He clasps firmly and extends two fingers up the governor’s sleeve to check for a pulse. “We teach that here,” said Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy of Nebraska, displaying the proper form. “I check the pulse of my governor every day. But my governor was a lieutenant governor, so he says stop.”

Our own LG, Elizabeth Roberts, didn’t make the article – I don’t know if she attended the conference – but Healey did:

In Rhode Island, a perennial candidate won nearly 40 percent of the vote last month running for the office on the platform of eliminating it altogether. “This is the most useless appendage of government,” said Robert J. Healey, the candidate. “If you open up the dictionary to ‘sinecure,’ you have a picture of the lieutenant governor of Rhode island.”

(No, the Times didn’t capitalize “Island” in spelling out the state’s name. Perhaps a quiet protest against our failure to remove “and Providence Plantations.”)


Is this the best New York Times correction ever?

November 12th, 2010 at 12:15 pm by under General Talk

It’s at least got to be a contender for the title:

An article on Nov. 4 about the San Francisco Giants’ victory parade referred incorrectly to the type of underwear shown to the crowd by first baseman Aubrey Huff. His “rally thong,” which he said he wore for luck during the Giants’ run to the World Series title, was designed for men, not for women.

Good to know? If you want way too many additional details, check out this Yahoo! Sports story.


Projo.com’s latest paywall plan – Diet Projo?

October 20th, 2010 at 11:50 am by under News and Politics

The Providence Journal’s publisher, Howard Sutton, issued a memo yesterday explaining what’s happening with the paper’s long-gestating plans to make readers start paying for some Projo.com content, Dave Scharfenberg reports. Although Projo executives have been cagey about what they’re planning – and they never speak to the press – this looks like an evolution of their paywall strategy, not an abandonment of it.

The old plan was apparently to keep some of the paper’s lengthier local stories off the free Web altogether – no HTML version would go on Projo.com at all. According to Scharfenberg’s report, the new plan is to post short summaries of those stories online, but only offer the full versions to print and (eventually) electronic-edition subscribers. Think of it as “Diet Projo.”

With print circulation and revenue still plummeting, the question is whether this will help The Journal stabilize its finances. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other paper that offers abbreviated stories online with full versions available to subscribers. I asked Dan Kennedy, the Northeastern professor and prominent press critic, what he thought of the idea, and here’s what he said:

The Journal is sacrificing its website in order to bolster its print edition, which is where it makes most of its money. I understand why Journal managers are doing this, but it’s a short-term solution that could prove harmful in the long term. I also wonder whether it will even accomplish anything. Newspaper readers are skimmers, and a headline and brief synopsis of a story may be all that they want.

That’s a good point. Although I know all of you linger over each lovingly chosen word that appears here on Nesi’s Notes, in most cases people skim, skim, skim.

In fact, what the new Projo.com strategy reminds me of most is The New York Times’ TimesDigest, a nine-page synopsis of the daily paper the company publishes primarily for cruise ships and hotels. (Here’s a PDF example of it.) “TimesDigest indicates that making New York Times stories shorter while retaining their essential news value ain’t really that hard,” Slate’s Jack Shafer wrote in 2007. Will some people be content with an online “ProjoDigest” and opt to skip a subscription?

There were other interesting tidbits in Sutton’s memo. The Journal has retained two of Providence’s savvier firms to help it move forward: ExNihilo is designing a new version of Projo.com slated to debut next summer, while Nail Communications is helping the paper “strengthen the graphical representation of our brand.” And the release date for the paper’s new iPhone and iPad apps, which will use the NYT’s new Press Engine system, also has been pushed back a bit to next summer.

It looks like 2011 will be the Year of the Paywall for the newspaper industry, with The New York Times and its sister paper The Boston Globe among those planning to stop offering their entire print edition for free online after New Year’s. I’ve reached out to a few other media analysts to get their thoughts on the Projo’s plan, and I’ll update when I hear back.